David Wright: Are Mets Fans and Media in His Head?

Wendy AdairAnalyst IAugust 4, 2009

NEW YORK - AUGUST 01:  David Wright #5 of the New York Mets bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 1, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

This has to be one of the most mentally and physically trying years that David Wright has had to endure during his five year career since his MLB debut with the Mets in July of 2004.

As the lone core player in the lineup every day, Wright has had to pick up a lot of slack in both getting on base and driving in the runs which never seem to be enough for the Mets to win most ballgames. 

To date in 2009, Wright has seven home runs, well below what is typically expected of him in production numbers.  The media and fan base has blasted Wright from here to California and back about his different swing and/or approach to adjust to life at Citi Field.

Wright has answered his critics honestly, Mike Francesca of WFAN radio (Mets flagship station) being at the top of the list.  He has done so respectfully and head on and when asked has replied that home runs are fun to hit but he does not need to hit a lot of them to be successful: he is a line drive gap hitter and his doubles and triples back up that statement.

When Wright came in a close second to Ryan Howard in the 2006 HR Derby, no one was more shocked than David and his three brothers who would have been happy with no more than five home runs.  He ended up hitting 23 for the evening, and even hit one in his first All Star Game at bat the next evening. 

His health suffered, mainly strained rib cage and back spasm issues, and the 2nd half of 2006 season suffered as well, he only hit five home runs after the All Star Break, mainly due to the fact that because of his rib and back problems was rested more than usual.

The last two seasons have seen Wright hit 30 or more home runs and it doesn't need to be said how disappointing they turned out for Wright as the "captain" and the Mets as an organization. 

Wright had 30 home runs in 2007 after not hitting one home run until May 4th and ended up becoming a member of the 30/30 club ten days before the collapse, and in 2008, he had 34 home runs, a career best.

Wright has been working with Howard Johnson since the day after the Super Bowl and has shown himself to be a workhorse without rival on the Mets.

Last September, while Citi Field was still under construction, Wright was brought over by Jeff Wilpon to the new site along with Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans to test out the new dimensions.

Wright was severely under the weather but wanted to accommodate Wilpon's request, and all three were successful in hitting at least one home run.  It took Wright several tries, but because he was not feeling well, not much was thought about it at the time.

During April 2009, Wright was in a major slump but has kept his batting average well above .300 for the majority of the season. 

His strikeout numbers during the first half, especially in April, were alarming, but he seems to be leveling off in that respect and his power does seem to be on the increase.

Half of May and part of June saw David Wright as the league leader in batting average, which was close to .370.  He had a 42 at bat stretch that yielded 25 hits and a batting average during that time of close to .600.

Since the injuries to Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado, Wright has had the weight of the team on his shoulders, and it has been a burden that he has struggled greatly with the past two months.

Much has been said about him not being able to carry the team on his shoulders, which, honestly is ridiculous; this is a team and one player does not make or break a team. 

Losses are team losses and wins are team wins.

Wright has played in all but one game so far and that says a lot about the type of team player that he is, and while his home run numbers are down, that does not mean that Wright is not contributing to the Mets' wins.

As it stands now, Wright is the team leader in batting average (though Carlos Beltran did have a higher batting average while active), stolen bases, RBI and runs scored.

Chipper Jones and Mark Reynolds have both recently commented on how Citi Field and the media must be wreaking havoc on Wright's confidence in hitting home runs.

Both of them seem to be sincerely sympathetic and supportive to Wright's plight, but he is still a force to be reckoned with, and considering how things turned out the last two years, many changes were needed on team and individual levels.

While fans need to vent their frustrations, acting like Wright is purposely not hitting home runs out of some kind of protest or laziness is just plain cruel.

With two months remaining of the season, chances are Wright will hit at least a few more home runs, but if not, so be it, there are worse things that could happen, and one of them would be for him to have to go on the disabled list.